Real Mormons are diverse


As a Mormon with Eastern roots, I found this article woefully lacking (HCN, 10/27/08). Mormons are not part of the Christian right cabal. Look at Harry Reid, for crying out loud. I voted for the Green candidate in 2004, and Obama in the California primary and may well vote for him again.

Ray Ring simply overplays the usual, old, stale (tiresome) Western Mormon stereotypes -- which often make us out to be a bunch of old-fashioned oddities visiting Planet Earth from the 1950s. If Ring was going to go down this route, he should have given equal time to what makes our faith so remarkable and appealing to the more than 13 million adherents.

We, like others who have a deep sense of faith in Christian values, serve our church, our community, and like any other families, we are busy bringing up our kids and don't have much time for anything else.

We teach values in our homes -- and that includes tolerance and respect for others. Yes, Ray, even gay people. In the East, where I am from originally, our church is full of people from different races and nationalities -- not only Latino, but African, Asian, African American, Haitian, European. This, I am sure, is hard for New West liberals to grasp -- that the Mormon Church is diverse. But keep writing about Salt Lake and Rexburg all you want. You will miss the point of Mormonism every time.

In our church, not just in the East but here in California and all over the world, women speak from the pulpit every Sunday in thousands of LDS chapels everywhere around the world. Yes, Ray, they have real leadership positions, even. You would even find black bishops if you wanted to, but best stick to those stereotypes.

Marvin Gaye

Anonymous says:
Nov 07, 2008 10:11 AM
I agree with Mr. Gaye's comments. For many of us Mormons -- and I'm an adult convert -- one of the appeals of the LDS church is that it theology openly embraces whatever is good, regardless of where it comes from. We strive to the highest ideals, and we believe that all of us are brothers and sisters, and not in just a metaphorical sense. But none of us are perfect, and there are times that we too fall prey to the prejudices of the society around us.

And for what it's worth, I voted for Obama this week, as did my wife and my son who was able to vote in his first election since returning from his mission (while on his mission he voted for Obama by absentee in the primary). We definitely aren't all Republicans.
Anonymous says:
Nov 11, 2008 01:31 PM
The Mormon church may be diverse, in the sense that it includes a large number of different ethnicities. An ecologist would call that species diversity, if ethnicities were species. It is not, however, rich, in the sense that an ecologist would call species richness. Demographically, the vast, overwhelming majority of Mormons are Caucasian; a comparative few, in some locations, may be minorities, but their presence boosts only a measure of straight diversity. Same way with Obama voters and black bishops - they're there, but they're not represented in proportions similar to white Republicans.
Anonymous says:
Nov 17, 2008 02:16 PM
It's hard for those of us who live near Rexburg and Salt Lake City to understand what you're saying. I've never met a Mormon - and I've met hundreds - who voted Democrat,embraced diversity,was tolerant of other positions,or was anything other than white. Intellectually, I accept that Mormons as you describe are out there, but keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of us live in places where there are simply not Mormons of your type, and accepting it beyond intellectually is difficult. We also live in towns where Mormon kids do not go to non-Mormon kids' houses to play after school - like never - where even our kids' birthday party invitations are turned down by Mormon mothers. We live in towns where you can't schedule public school events on Family Home Evening nights but if the Lutheran church is having an annual bash, no principal will schedule anything around it. We live in towns where kids can substitute a high school elective with a class at Mormon school, which is conveniently built right across the street from the high school. We live in towns where Mormon kids try constantly to convert our children. All of this is offensive to us, not Mormon religious beliefs, which we don't care about. Why wouldn't we do at least some stereotyping?